In­di­ana backs con­tro­ver­sial law on ‘re­li­gious free­dom’

The Church of England - - NEWS -

WIDE­SPREAD CRIT­I­CISM has fol­lowed the Re­li­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act in the Amer­i­can state of In­di­ana.

Signed into ac­tion by Gover­nor Mike Pence, it has faced crit­i­cism due to the fact that it could al­low dis­crim­i­na­tion to nu­mer­ous groups of peo­ple.

The law says that the state gov­ern­ment can­not “sub­stan­tially bur­den” an in­di­vid­ual’s abil­ity to fol­low their re­li­gious be­liefs, ex­cept in cases where the gov­ern­ment can prove a rea­son for im­pos­ing that re­stric­tion.

The up­roar from op­po­nents of the law, in the com­mu­nity and across the United States, comes from the fact that this law prac­ti­cally le­galises dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Through the word­ing of the law, it im­plies that peo­ple can deny ser­vice to oth­ers based on race, colour, reli­gion, an­ces­try, age, na­tional ori­gin, dis­abil­ity, sex, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity or ser­vice in the US mil­i­tary by us­ing the front that it is be­cause of their own re­li­gious be­liefs.

Sev­eral high-pro­file cit­i­zens have taken to so­cial me­dia to dis­cuss their dis­ap­point­ment in this law.

The CEO of Ap­ple joined other tech lead­ers in speak­ing out against the law. Tim Cook said that the In­di­ana law may have be­gan a “very danger­ous … wave of leg­is­la­tion.” He also voiced his hopes that the gover­nor of Arkansas would veto a sim­i­lar bill.

The Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion, which has its head­quar­ters in In­di­anapo­lis, has voiced con­cerned over how the leg­is­la­tion will af­fect stu­dent-ath­letes and em­ploy­ees.

NCAA an­a­lyst and for­mer NBA player Charles Barkley said that the law was “un­ac­cept­able.”

“As long as anti-gay leg­is­la­tion ex­ists in any state, I strongly be­lieve big events such as the Fi­nal Four and Su­per Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities,” said Barkley.

Along with the mass amount of voices speak­ing against the law, there are also ar­eas in the United States that are tak­ing ac­tion to boy­cott In­di­ana.

The San Fran­cisco Mayor Ed­win Lee and Seat­tle Mayor Ed Mur­ray have banned city­funded travel to In­di­ana.

Other peo­ple that have spo­ken in op­po­si­tion to the law in­clude celebri­ties such as Ash­ton Kutcher, Larry King and James Van Der Beek.

Hil­lary Clin­ton has also voiced dis­ap­point­ment in the law tweet­ing, “Sad this new In­di­ana law can hap­pen in Amer­ica to­day. We shouldn’t dis­crim­i­nate against peo­ple be­cause of who they love.”

Due to the back­lash, In­di­ana gover­nor Mike Pence has said that he is open to clar­i­fy­ing the law, but has no plans to change it.

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